adrift on a cosmic ocean

Writings on various topics (mostly technical) from Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins. We have lived in Berlin since 2009, have two kids, and have far too little time to really justify having a blog.

  • Agile Book Recommendations
    Posted by Oliver on the 8th of August, 2020 in category Tech
    Every so often when I'm talking about the relative merits of Scrum or Kanban, or Agile software development in general, I find myself brought back to the few books I've read on the subject which really resonated with me and gave me plenty of interesting ideas for what to try, when faced with workflow difficulties. In the last five years, I've worked on or with at least ten different teams - either…
  • Micro book review: The Unicorn Project
    Posted by Oliver on the 8th of August, 2020 in category Thoughts
    The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim is the latest book to cross my desk, after a last-minute mad rush end-of-financial-year order of a few different books from my education budget. Expect a few more upcoming reviews soon, hopefully! I've already read The Phoenix Project a few years ago, although I realise now I've forgotten many of the details. The Unicorn Project is something of a sister story…
  • Micro book review: The Advantage
    Posted by Oliver on the 17th of May, 2020 in category Thoughts
    The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni is the latest book I've gotten through, and also a bit of a compilation of all of Patrick's previous works. Very early on when I first started managing teams, I read his other book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team which I still recommend and really enjoyed reading (a few times over). Really these books are aimed at leadership groups (think executives at a medium…
  • Micro book review: It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work
    Posted by Oliver on the 3rd of May, 2020 in category Thoughts
    It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is the latest ebook to cross my desk. I read their previous books ReWork and Remote recently after we moved to the working from home situation and got hooked on their writing style. In many ways, this one (I'm not going to repeat the full title again) feels like a rehashing of ReWork - although it was published…
  • Revisiting C++ for Image Deduplication
    Posted by Oliver on the 11th of April, 2020 in category Tech
    Hi everyone, and welcome back to my exceedingly sparse tales of technology adventures! Strap in for an excessively long introduction to this one, it's boring and tedious as hell. I'll skim over the introduction to the introduction, but like many of you, I've had a gradually growing collection of digital images. Starting in roughly 2001 when my family had a Kodak DC120 1MP Digital Camera (yes…
  • Micro book review: ReWork - Change the Way You Work Forever
    Posted by Oliver on the 10th of April, 2020 in category Thoughts
    Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. First off, I have to acknowledge the fact that these last few reviews have definitely not been "micro"-sized. They've made their way solidly up to "mini" and possibly even ... whatever comes after that. Regular? I think the intent was more to express how much effort I wanted to put in rather than the content…
  • Micro book review: Remote - Office not required
    Posted by Oliver on the 5th of April, 2020 in category Thoughts
    Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson It's probably no surprise to anybody that I just read this book, and I expect many other people have recently, or will soon, read it as well given the current global pandemic looming over us. Many people will have recently bought the book as the authors made it free (I think the tweet has now been deleted as I couldn't find it) but in any case…
  • Micro book review: Reinventing Organizations
    Posted by Oliver on the 2nd of April, 2020 in category Thoughts
    Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux . Wow, what a book. I've had this sitting on the bookshelf for a couple of years and finally got around to reading it in the last couple of months. When it comes to books around the theme of management, the most interesting books are the ones that completely challenge and change my existing ways of thinking, or the ones that fully resonate and amplify…
  • Micro book review: Who Moved My Cheese?
    Posted by Oliver on the 15th of March, 2020 in category Thoughts
    Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson is another book mentioned to me last year (I think by my manager). It sounds like a book I already knew about, but maybe that is because of the conventional and obvious sounding title. And the content is obvious, in many ways - it's an allegory for change management. As the tale goes, four mice with strange names are feasting on cheese and then the…
  • Micro book review: One Minute Mentoring
    Posted by Oliver on the 15th of March, 2020 in category Thoughts
    One Minute Mentoring by Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz is one of the well-respected One Minute Manager series by Ken Blanchard. Ken Blanchard himself has started a series of companies that specialise in management training and techniques - such as Situational Leadership II. I still have it on my list to read the original One Minute Manager, and assumed it was just a "basics" guide to the…
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